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♫ I can't decide, whether you should live or die ♫
—The Master shows his love for the Scissor Sisters.
It's one year later.
Most people have spent it in slavery (or dead), but Martha Jones has been Walking the Earth, picking her way amongst the ruins, and looking for the four segments of a weapon that can allegedly kill the Master. She also discovers that the Toclafane are mutated remnants of the humans from the end of time.
Meanwhile, the Master has made Martha's family into his personal slaves. He's also got Jack chained up as a toy to kill over and over. He plays with the Doctor for a bit while singing along to the Scissor Sisters, then turns him into a heap of Conspicuous CGI.
Martha's returned to Britain, where she tells her story one last time and then is captured by the Master's Mooks. Up aboard the Valiant, the Master makes her Kneel Before Zod and prepares to kill her.
Then she laughs at him. Come on, she says, Plot Coupons? Seriously? No, what she was really doing was telling everyone about the Doctor. Thanks to Martha's stories, and using the Master's global countdown, the whole Earth manages to think the Doctor back to health and youth with a feedback effect through the Master's own mind-controlling cellphone satellite network, keeping people under his influence. The destruction of the paradox machine reverses time to exactly one year ago, with everyone's memories neatly wiped and all the mutated humans disappear from the present day. But everyone in the "eye of the storm" — including Martha's family — keep the memories of everything they've seen.
While the Doctor attempts to stop everyone from killing the Master (being a Time Lord, he sees it as his domain to deal with him), the Master's wife shoots him. The Doctor cradles the Master in his lap, gently forgives him and asks if they can be together from now on, but the Master refuses to regenerate, and dies in the arms of a wildly sobbing Doctor.
The Master's corpse is burned. Martha's family remains deeply traumatized. The Doctor puts a lock on Jack's time machine, to make sure Jack can only ever travel somewhere twice — "the second time to apologize". Jack leaves because he misses Torchwood Three, but not before telling the others that he's very slowly aging into something unknown, and that his nickname was once "The Face Of Boe". Oh what. Also, Martha finally understands that the Doctor will never return her affections. She hands him her phone, as she realises that she may need his help again some day.
Meanwhile at the Master's funeral pyre, a mysterious woman removes a maniacally laughing ring with Gallifreyan symbols on it. Is the Master not dead after all?
- After the End: Most of Earth.
- Angst? What Angst?: Humanity failed to evade the death of the universe, instead turning into the grotesque, murderous Toclafane as a last-ditch resort. Neither the Doctor, nor Martha, nor even the writers show much distress at this revelation, which is never brought up again.
- Well, to be honest, it's been a year of total hell, there is only so much despair one can take before they just stop caring.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Martha has spent the last year travelling solo around the world, running from homicidal aliens, yet there isn't a scratch on her. She also sports makeup and straightened hair.
- Subverted with Mrs. Saxon, who's sporting bruises.
- Big "What?" followed by Flat What: A Call Back to the last season cliffhanger. This time the Doctor really has something to "What?" about--the Titanic crashing through the wall.
- Broken Bird: Lucy has clearly fallen off the deep end in the last year; she is noticeably skinnier and hardly talks. Considering the fact that she had seen the end of the universe firsthand and and the most likely disturbing creation of the Toclafane, can you really blame her?
- Bloodless Carnage: The Master gets fatally shot but no blood at all is visible.
- Bowdlerise: OH LORD, did this get hit hard in the DVD release...
- Can't Spit It Out: Subverted; Martha comes as close as she'll ever get to telling the Doctor she loves him, and even though she doesn't say the words it's clear the normally Oblivious to Love Doctor knows exactly what she's on about.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe
- Combined Energy Attack
- Continuity Nod
Martha: "I travelled across the world — from the ruins of New York to the fusion mills of China, right across the radiation pits of Europe; and everywhere I went I saw people just like you living as slaves."
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: What? No! Definitely not! The glowing and flying? Just… time lord… magic… ness. …Yeeeeah.
- Deus Ex Machina: A very-nearly literal version. If you thought it was literal when Rose was made a god by the TARDIS, how about the Doctor being brought back from being Gollum through the power of satellite network-enhanced prayer?
- Did You Actually Believe?
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: No, seriously, we weren't kidding about the Foe Yay.
- The Dog Bites Back: "It's always the women."
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: The Doctor has a lot of messianic moments throughout the series, but gaining power through faith had some overtones.
- First Gray Hair: Captain Jack Harkness is immortal and apparently unaging, but at the end of the episode he mentions having found a grey hair, and theorizes that he is aging, very very slowly.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "You two should get to know each other...that could be fun!"
- Gotta Catch Em All: The gun in four parts. Except it isn't.
- Humans Are Bastards: The Toclafane are the future of humanity, who turned themselves into cyborg Psychopathic Manchilds in a desperate attempt to survive the collapse of reality. And why are they slaughtering their own species? Simply because it's fun.
- Kneel Before Zod
- Large Ham: The Master.
- Madness Mantra: "We shall fly and blaze and slice! We shall fly and blaze and slice!"
- Nietzsche Wannabe: The Master turns Mrs Saxon into one by showing her the end of the Universe.
- No One Could Survive That: Yeah, right.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Why, exactly, was Utopia nothing but hellish furnaces? Fuck you, that's why.
- Oh Crap: When Martha mentioned the satellites, the Master stopped being amused by the situation.
- Politically-Incorrect Villain: The Master has issues with women, it appears.
- Reset Button
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Everyone on the Valiant, due to being at "the eye of the storm".
- Rushmore Refacement: Mentioned though not seen.
- Sequel Hook: The hand that takes the master's ring. Russell T. Davies even joked that it was "the hand of The Rani".
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The final fate of the entire human race. Thanks, RTD!
- Shout-Out: "Say Hi,Gandalf.""
- Status Quo Is God
- Taking You with Me: The Master tries to do this when the Doctor and Martha foil his plans by detonating his fleet of rockets (thus triggering an Earthshattering Kaboom). However, the Doctor points out that the Master would never take his own life, and convinces him to surrender.
- Time Bomb: The Master never could resist a ticking clock.
- Terrible Ticking: The drums.
- Thanatos Gambit: The Master refusing to regenerate just to make sure the Doctor is the last of his kind.
- Theme Song Reveal: Lucy Saxon's bruises are briefly visible on camera when her face falls, just as the vocalist sings, "No wonder why my heart feels dead inside." Foreshadows the climax.
- Took a Level In Badass: Martha
- Ugly Cute: The Doctor in his most aged form.
- Villainous Breakdown: Mrs Saxon is clearly stoned in this episode. She also turns against her husband in the end.
- Villain World. Also Vichy Earth thanks to the mind-control satellites which keep everyone terrified of Saxon.
- Walking the Earth: Martha has been.
- Wham! Line:
- Martha's revelation - Ridiculous for some, awesome surprise for others.
"Right across the world. One word, just one thought, at one moment, but with 15 satellites!"
- The full impact comes there, but it starts with:
A gun in four parts, scattered across the world. I mean, come on. Did you really believe it?
"The Face of Boe, they called me."
- Xanatos Gambit: Martha's entire plan to defeat the Master.